Roger Johnston is the head of the Vulnerability Assessment Team at Argonne National Laboratory. Not long ago, he and his colleagues launched security attacks on electronic voting machines to demonstrate the startling ease with which one can steal votes. Even more startling: Versions of those machines will appear in polling places all over America on Tuesday. The touchscreen Diebold Accuvote-TSX will be used by more than 26 million voters in 20 states; the push-button Sequoia AVC Voting Machine will be used by almost 9 million voters in four states, Harper’s magazine reported recently (subscription required). Here, Johnston reveals how he hacked the machines--and why anyone, from a high-school kid to an 80-year-old grandmother, could do the same.--Ed
The Vulnerability Assessment Team at Argonne National Laboratory looks at a wide variety of security devices-- locks, seals, tags, access control, biometrics, cargo security, nuclear safeguards--to try to find vulnerabilities and locate potential fixes. Unfortunately, there’s not much funding available in this country to study election security. So we did this as a Saturday afternoon type of project.